Waiting times for organ transplants vary greatly between the types of organs due to availability and the procedure. Many hospitals regularly screen patients for potential donors, making the donation process more efficient. As medical treatment improves, recovery and survival rates for organ transplant patients have increased.
In the United States, under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in 1987, presumed consent was common, in which medical examiners could directly determine if organs and tissues from cadavers could be used for organ transplantation. During this time, the number of donors in the country grew steadily. However, in 2006, opt-in organ donation was established, requiring consent from the family or donor themselves before organ donation can occur. Since this year, the number of organ transplants in the U.S. has fluctuated slightly. Other countries, such as Austria, have opt-out systems which often contribute to much higher consent rates. Unfortunately, the number of patients needing new organs is much greater than the number of donors worldwide. Increasing the transparency of donation and transplantation procedures may help to increase the number of organ donors.